North Korean state media made no mention on Wednesday of leader Kim Jong Un’s new appearances, a day after intense international speculation about his health was sparked by reports that he was critically ill after an intervention cardiovascular.
South Korean and Chinese officials and sources close to the US intelligence service questioned media reports from South Korea and the United States, while the White House said it was closely following the case.
President Donald Trump, who held unprecedented summits with Kim in 2018 and 2019 to try to persuade him to give up his nuclear weapons, said the information had not been confirmed and he would not agree to it not much credibility.
“I just hope he’s okay,” Trump said at a White House press conference on Tuesday. “I had a very good relationship with Kim Jong Un. And I would like to see him do well. We will see how he goes. We do not know if the reports are true.”
When asked if he would try to contact Kim to check on his condition, Trump replied, “Well, I can, but I just hope he’s okay.”
Speculation about Kim’s health first appeared due to her absence on the anniversary of the founding father of North Korea and Kim’s grandfather, Kim Il Sung, on April 15.
Main KCNA headlines on Wednesday included articles on sports equipment, mulberry picking and a meeting in Bangladesh to study the “juche” or ideology of self-government in North Korea. The official newspaper Rodong Sinmun published articles on a self-sufficient economy and anti-coronavirus measures.
There was no mention of Kim’s whereabouts.
Daily NK, a Seoul-based site, reported Monday evening that Kim, who is said to be around 36, was hospitalized on April 12, a few hours before the cardiovascular procedure.
He said his health has deteriorated since August due to smoking, obesity and overwork.
Quoting an anonymous North Korean source, she said Kim is now receiving treatment at a villa in Mount Myohyang resort north of the capital Pyongyang.
CNN reported on Tuesday anonymous US official that the United States “is monitoring information” that Kim was in grave danger after the surgery.
However, two South Korean government officials rejected the CNN report and the South Korean Presidential Blue House said there were no unusual signs of North Korea. China, North Korea’s only major ally, also rejected the news.
Trump’s national security adviser Robert O’Brien told Fox News that the White House was following the reports “very closely”.
“There is a lot of speculation going around,” a senior Trump administration official said on condition of anonymity on Tuesday when asked if there was any confirmation of the information.
North Korean experts warned that the facts about Kim’s condition were elusive, but said his unprecedented absence from major celebrations for his grandfather’s birthday last week indicates that something may have happened. -be gone wrong.
Kim is a third generation hereditary chief who rules North Korea with an iron fist, coming to power after the death of his father Kim Jong Il in 2011 from a heart attack.
Reporting inside North Korea is notoriously difficult, particularly on questions concerning its leadership, given the rigorous checks of information. There have been false reports in the past about its leaders, but the fact that Kim has no clear successor means that any instability could pose a major international risk.
Trump said he had asked Kim about the estate in the past, but declined to elaborate.
“The basic assumption might be that it would be someone in the family,” said O’Brien. “But, again, it’s too early to talk about it because we just don’t know what President Kim’s condition is and we’ll have to see how it goes.”
With no details on Kim’s young children, analysts said Kim’s sister and loyalists could form a regency until a successor is old enough to take over.
In recent years, Kim has launched a diplomatic offensive to promote himself as a world leader, holding three meetings with Trump, four with South Korean President Moon Jae-in and five with Chinese President Xi Jinping.
Kim sought to ease international sanctions against his country, but refused to dismantle its nuclear weapons program, a firm request from the United States.